Romania: Finance Ministry removes draft bill on capping domestic gas price from its website

The Finance Ministry removed the draft bill on capping the price of gas extracted in Romania from its website as the measure is still discussed internally within the ministry, according to sources quoted by Profit.ro.

The draft bill, which provided that the price of gas from domestic production would be capped at RON 55 per MWh, compared to a current price of some RON 77 per MWh, was published on the ministry’s website last week after the measure was first announced by prime minister Viorica Dancila’s adviser Darius Valcov.

The shares of OMV Petrom and state-owned Romgaz went down significantly after the project was made public as the measure would significantly impact their results. Investment fund Fondul Proprietatea, which owns a minority stake in OMV Petrom, said on Friday that such a measure would “flagrantly breach already approved legislation, as well as Romania’s obligations as EU member state to observe the free market principles and liberalise the gas market”.

Moreover, Romania’s energy independence would be put at risk and the country may have to rely on external sources of gas at higher prices that the Government will have no control over, according to the fund. “Arbitrarily capping gas prices would throw Romania back in time, as the Ministry of Finance’s proposal backtracks the entire liberalization process that took years to complete and jeopardizes any future investment in the Black Sea, which is essential for Romania’s energy independence,” said Johan Meyer, Fondul Proprietatea’s manager.

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